I used to hate spinach as a child and those days Popeye wasn't such a popular character. So I received absolutely zilch inspiration on that front. I simply hated the sight of spinach in any form. I don't think I even tried it once. I guess just the look of it (so green and bursting with goodness and health) that was so unappealing. It used to make an appearance in many avatars and find its way on to the dining table ever so often but no, I would not touch it.
One day when my mom was out of town, I came back from college and I was simply starving. You know the of feeling rats gnawing in the tummy and all that. I went into the kitchen looking for something yummy to eat. To my horror, all I saw in the fridge was rice and palak dal. OMG!!! That was the scariest thing to happen to me ever. But by now I was starving. I had no choice in the matter. Took the rice, added some dal very gingerly, put in lots and lots of ghee and heated the whole thing up in hopes that it will morph into something that I loved. But no, the gods were not on my side. It still remained the same vile looking palak dal and rice..
Put the whole thing into a bowl and sat at the table with a book for company (mom wasn't there, remember?). Put one spoon of it into my mouth. I cannot even start to describe the shock I got.
It was heavenly. Tasted so good. Till today I cannot say if I loved the taste because I was hungry or because it just tasted yummy. But ever since then, it has remained one of my favorite dals. And has triggered my tastebuds into loving all the different varieties of greens.
So now I dont ever refuse anything until I taste it once and the same rule applies to the kids too. One taste and if you still don't like it, then its ok, you don't have to eat it. But one taste is mandatory.
So here goes my mom's version of the Palak Dal
1 Bunch Palak ( maybe about 100 gms)
6 cloves of garlic peeled (if the smaller garlic is used, feel free to put in more)
1 teaspoon jeera
1 teaspoon oil
1 cup toor dal washed and boiled till done
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
salt to taste
Wash and chop the spinach finely.
Heat oil in the kadai and when medium hot, add the jeera and fry till it sizzles.
Add garlic at this point.
When the garlic is browned nicely, pour the dal into the kadai. Add salt and chilli powder.
When it starts to boil add the finely chopped spinach leaves. Heat through for about 5 minutes till the leaves start to wilt.
Switch off the heat.
Serve hot with rice or chapatis.
Note: The garlic adds a lot of taste to the dal. So feel free to use a little more than the quantity I have mentioned.